The woman won the lottery and then got married, but she confided in her family that her husband was abusive and that she wanted to leave him.
Editor’s note: This article was originally published on August 11, 2021. It has since been updated.
Trigger Warning: This story contains details of murder and suicide that may be disturbing to readers.
In November 2020, Tiffani Hill won a $2 million lottery from a scratch-off ticket. After her win, she got married to John Donato and the couple moved to Oklahoma. On July 30, 2021, cops arrived at the home of 31-year-old Tiffani Hill and 42-year-old John Donato, only to find them both dead, along with their 23-month-old daughter, Leanne, per PEOPLE.
When police arrived at the scene, they found that the little one was alive, but barely. Immediately, she was flown out via air ambulance to a hospital in Dallas, but unfortunately, she didn't make it.
Cops believe that Donato shot his wife and daughter dead, before dying by suicide. According to KXII, the FBI is also a part of the investigation because the case involves at least one tribal member.
Several times, before the unfortunate incident, Hill had told her family that Donato was abusive and that she wanted to escape the relationship. Theresa McGehee, a family attorney, also revealed that Hill winning the lottery had caused a rift between them. “Tiffani never reached out to me about anything of that nature but I did speak with her mom. And her mom wants the message that Tiffani was trying to get away from it,” said McGehee.
"Could that have sparked that argument? We'll never have any way of knowing," McGehee said, per another KXII report. "But I do know there were times it caused conflict between them."
Hill's grieving family believes domestic violence is the reason why they lost a loved one. “Statistically that is the most dangerous time for anyone involved in domestic violence is around that time of separation,” said McGehee.
Though Hill did do the right thing by reaching out to the family, McGehee believes that the situation would have been different, had she involved professionals in it. “The sadness is there are resources that people don’t reach out for. Bryan County has a great crisis control center. I know Grayson County has a great center,” said McGehee.
Now, all her family can do is share her story, so that such a situation can be avoided again.
If there is any money remaining in the couple's estate, it will be put into a trust fund for Hill's three other children, who were in the house at the time of the shooting. The family has established a GoFundMe for the surviving kids, who are currently in state custody.
Cover Image Source: GoFundMe | Tiffani Hill and Leanne Donato funeral expenses